Naperville natives win 2024 College Football National Championship with Michigan

Naperville natives Danny Hughes and John Weidenbach celebrate after being National Champions with Michigan
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Naperville natives Danny Hughes and John Weidenbach sit on top of the college football world after winning the 2024 National Championship on Monday night with the Michigan Wolverines.

Naperville natives finish the year as champions

The number one-ranked Wolverines beat the number two-ranked Washington Huskies 34-13, in a game that was as close as 20-13 in the fourth quarter. Michigan finished the season 15-0 and won its first National Championship since 1997.

Hughes, a 2019 Naperville Central High School graduate and running back, appeared on special teams and helped finish a tackle on the final kickoff of the game. The former Redhawk has contributed to the Wolverine special teams unit for the past three seasons, in addition to some action at running back. 

This season, Hughes took a graduate year and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Management from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He will end his four-year playing career at Michigan with 33 games played, highlighted by an average of 5.3 yards per run.

Weidenbach, a 2023 Benet Academy graduate, joined the roster as a preferred walk-on linebacker this fall for his freshman year.

The Weidenbach family is deeply rooted in the athletic history with the maize and blue. John’s great-uncle, Jack, was an athletic director at the university during the 1990s, and there’s even a building named after him.

More local student-athletes on Michigan

Along with the two Naperville natives, Michigan’s roster consists of many more suburban Chicago athletes.

  • Quarterback, JJ McCarthy – La Grange Park/ Nazareth Academy
  • Wide receiver, Tyler Morris – Bolingbrook/ Nazareth Academy
  • Offensive lineman, Trevor Keegan – Crystal Lake South
  • Cornerback, Jyaire Hill – Kankakee High School
  • Tight end, Josh Beetham – Yorkville High School
  • Defensive end, Trey Pierce – Chicago/ Brother Rice Academy
  • Linebacker, Jimmy Rolder – Orland Park/ Marist Academy
  • Defensive end, Tyler McLaurin – Bolingbrook High School
  • Tight end, Deakon Tonielli – Oswego High School
  • Linebacker, Brooks Bahr – Lake Forest/ Loyola Academy

Image Courtesy: Benet Academy Athletics